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NASA Advances Habitable Worlds Observatory Mission With Key Technology Awards

Life on exoplanets

NASA Advances Habitable Worlds Observatory Mission With Key Technology Awards

NASA has selected proposals from BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to support its Habitable Worlds Observatory mission concept.

The mission is intended to search for life outside our solar system by imaging Earth-like planets and studying their atmospheres. It would feature the first space telescope specifically designed to study chemical signatures of life on exoplanets, NASA said.

The chosen projects BAE Systems’ “Ultra-stable Telescope Research and Analysis,” led by Laura Coyle; Lockheed Martin’s “Technology Maturation for Astrophysics Space Telescopes,” led by Alain Carrier; and Northrop Grumman’s “Systems Technologies for Architecture Baseline,” led by Tiffany Glassman.

The proposals will address critical areas for the mission’s development, including creating high-fidelity models for ultra-stable optical systems, developing integrated modeling tools to optimize mission design and maturing technologies for key telescope features such as deployable baffles and structures.

The projects, awarded a combined $17.5 million in contracts, will continue industry involvement initiated in 2017 and build on technologies from the James Webb and Nancy Grace Roman space telescopes.

NASA is also establishing a technology maturation project office at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to support the mission.

Category: Space